Friday, August 23, 2013

5 Tips for Surviving the 1st Week of College!

Forming good attitudes and habits in the 1st week of college will set you up for success through out the entire semester.  Here are 5 tips on surviving the 1st week of college and beyond!

1.  Find your classrooms - University Park campus can be large and intimidating!  Get a map and find out where your classrooms are before the 1st day of classes.  Use it to find the best walking or bus route to each class.  Always a good idea to scope out lunch and study locations too if you have a break between classes.

2.  Leave for class early - It can take longer to get across campus that you originally thought, especially with 40,000 other students trying to do the same thing!  Leave your room 5-10 mins earlier than you planned, that gives you time to get lost, wait on the bus or stop for coffee before that 8am class!  If you get to class early, great, take the time to get settled and possibly open the textbook.

3.  Be friendly and nice - Every new college student is nervous the first week.  It's important to be friendly to everyone; other first years, seniors, professors, TA's, etc.  They  may be able to help you survive this journey.  Will you like everyone or be friends with everyone on campus?  No, but they may have some valuable information that you need (i.e I bet the professor knows what is going to be on the exams.....that a good friend to have!)

4.  Sit front and center - Statistics show that students who sit front and center will have higher GPA's than students who don't.  Front and center of the classroom might not mean the "physcial" front and center of the room, but of where your professor spends most of their time while lecturing.  Sit in their sight line, be prepared for class and pay attention.  Pretty soon you will notice the professor is teaching directly to you!

5.  Have a calendar and USE IT! - Your calendar can be a physcial book or on your phone, either way you must use it for it to be effective.  College can be a stressful time, make it easier by planning out your time.  Put everything in your calendar, when your classes are, time to study, time to eat, sleep and relax.  Your schedule will fill up quickly with social activities, student organization meetings and classes so it's important to keep it all straight and not to forget about the exam coming up next week!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Who is my Advisor?!

In the first two years there are general engineering advisorys who are assigned to you.  Be sure to go and MEET YOUR ADVISOR.  They are there at all campuses to help you and provide guidance whether you are pursuing a two or four year degree.  After you declarre your major, you should seek out an advisory from your department.

If you are at a campus college other than University Park, make sure you speak to the designated advisor at your campus to help keep you on target for your move to University Park if this is where you plan to complete your degree.  If you have further questions, feel free to call the Engineering Advising Center at 814-863-1033.

In addition, do your own graduation homework and research the requirements for your intended major yourself, since in the end you are ultimately responsible for your college career.

The official advisors for engineering students assigned to you by Penn State University are listed at

Also, if you are a freshman, befriend a junior or senior who is well on the way towards graduation.  Students in your major can often shed light and offer advice which will help you succeed.  There are several student mentoring program to help you.  The students of the National Societ of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers (SHPE) provide some of this, as well as student organizations in your major.  Feel free to utilize as many mentors as you wish.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Will my internships affect my financial aid?

Interships are a great thing! They give you great experience and decent money.  In order to get your internship, you need to have a resume to distribute at the numerous career fairs that happen on campus.  You can get help in developing your resume at the many workshops thats are offered on campus throughout the academic year.  (Also, check out our blog post on resumes HERE!)

Once you have an internship, the financial aid office will factor in the majority of your newly earned money as a contribution towards your education, thereby reducing your financial aid from other sources.   If you're aware of this and actually save the money for college, it's not a bad thing.  If you are unaware of this, it will affect your financial planning for the following year.